This blog will expand on themes and topics first mentioned in my book, "The Automobile and American Life." I hope to comment on recent developments in the automobile industry, reviews of my readings on the history of the automobile, drafts of my new work, contributions from friends, descriptions of the museums and car shows I attend and anything else relevant. Copyright 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 , 2016, 2017, 2018, by the author.
Saturday, June 27, 2015
Mercedes at the Silvretta Classic 2015
Mercedes-Benz 190 SL racing version W 121 II, 1955.
Mille Miglia 2012, Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Rennsportwagen (W 194, 1952).
Outstanding Mercedes-Benz sports cars of the 1950s from the corporate collection will be taking to the starting line at the Silvretta Classic 2015: models in the guise of the 300 SL racing sports car (W 194), 190 SL (W 121 II) in racing trim and an exclusive 300 Sc Roadster (W 188 II) will provide highlights at the 18th edition of the vintage car rally. The event, at which 150 classic vehicles will start, takes the competitors through the Montafon, Tyrol, Liechtenstein and Switzerland from 2 to 5 July 2015.
Mercedes-Benz Classic is offering up a sporty automotive journey through time back to the 1950s at the Silvretta Classic Rally Montafon 2015. This decade not only epitomises the most successful motor sport season ever of the Stuttgart-based brand in 1955. Rather, the entire decade is characterised by an inspired, powerful pioneering spirit in the development of sporty motor cars for competition and series production. This is underscored by three vehicles from the collection of Mercedes-Benz Classic, which will take to the starting line of the Silvretta Classic in Partenen (Gaschurn municipality, Vorarlberg, Austria) on 2 July 2015.
“Cars with a fascinating history on breathtakingly beautiful Alpine roads – that is what the Silvretta Classic Rally Montafon has stood for since 1988. I am delighted that Mercedes-Benz Classic will tell a very special story with three vehicles from the 1950s at this event in summer of 2015,” says Michael Bock, Head of Mercedes-Benz Classic and Customer Centre.
Of the three classic vehicles, the 300 SL racing sports car (W 194) from 1952 stands for the overwhelmingly successful return of Mercedes-Benz to motor racing after the Second World War. The Gullwing Coupé will participate in the Silvretta Classic Rally Montafon sporting the authentic colour scheme of the 3rd Carrera Panamericana Mexico race, which Mercedes-Benz finished in 1952 with a one-two victory. The 190 SL (W 121 II) production sports car from 1955 represents a rare racing version with windowless aluminium doors, smaller windscreen and other modifications. The 190 SL will be driven at the Silvretta Classic by racing driver and Mercedes-Benz Brand Ambassador Ellen Lohr. Finally, the 300 Sc Roadster from 1956 (W 188 II) is the highly exclusive expression of sporty sophistication as a guiding principle in the brand history of Mercedes-Benz. Only 53 of these elegant sports cars were built between 1956 and 1958.
After accreditation and lining up on the starting grid together with the vehicles of the Silvretta E-Auto Rally, the Silvretta Classic Rally Montafon starts in Partenen at noon on 2 July 2015. The first stage is 116 kilometres long and takes the cars on the legendary Silvretta High Alpine Road to the Bielerhöhe Pass, and from there on to Wirl, Tschagguns and Bartholomaeberg to the finish of the stage in Schruns. The second stage, “Around the Piz Buin”, is 336 kilometres long and starts on 3 July beginning at 7.30 a.m. Among other places, it takes the participants to St. Anton in the Montafon, past Vaduz Castle in the Principality of Liechtenstein to Davos, the Flüela Pass, Scuol, Galtür and the Bielerhöhe Pass to Gaschurn. The final Vorarlberg stage on 4 July is 136 kilometres long and starts at 9.30 a.m. It takes the field over the Faschinajoch Pass and the Furkajoch Pass to Vandans, among other places.
The vehicles of Mercedes-Benz Classic at the Silvretta Classic 2015
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL racing sports car (W 194, 1952)
When Mercedes-Benz planned to return to motor racing following Second World War, sports racing cars were initially the only consideration. This was due to the fact that a new rule was announced for 1954, and the limited resources prevented previous development of a Grand Prix car based on the old formula. The new 300 SL racing sports car (W 194) used many existing components such as axles, transmission and engine from the prestigious Mercedes-Benz 300 (W 186) Saloon. A brand new innovation was the extremely light yet rigid space frame, enveloped by an elegantly arched, streamlined body made of aluminium-magnesium sheet metal. Because the space frame was built relatively high on the sides, the racing sports car was fitted with the characteristic gullwing doors, which were hinged at the roof. The car was powered by a 129 kW (175 hp) M 194 inline six-cylinder engine with a displacement of 2,996 cubic centimetres. Among the major racing successes were the one-two-three victory at the Grand Prix of Bern (Switzerland), the spectacular one-two victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (France) and at the Carrera Panamericana in Mexico as well as the top four places in the “Nürburgring Jubilee Grand Prix”.
Technical data of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL racing sports car (W 194)
Used in: 1952
Displacement: 2,996 cc
Output: 129 kW (175 hp)
Top speed: 240 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 190 SL racing version (W 121 II, 1955)
The Mercedes-Benz 190 SL embodies the attitude towards life in the “Swinging Fifties”, a colourful joie de vivre and lightness. The SL became the dream car of the 1950s primarily against the economic backdrop of the starting recovery and the advent of individual mobility. The open-top two-seater was built starting in 1955 and set new standards for comfortable touring with a sporty note by delivering a refreshingly new take on the “Gran Turismo” idea. Even though the 190 SL, unlike the 300 SL (W 198), was not based on motor racing technology, it also made its mark in motor sport. This was especially true for the racing version available until 1956 with windowless aluminium doors, a smaller windscreen and other modifications. The bumpers and soft top on this variant could be removed for races. The major successes of the vehicle included the class victory achieved by Douglas Steane at the 1956 Macau Grand Prix.
Technical data of the Mercedes-Benz 190 SL (W 121)
Built from: 1955-1963
Displacement: 1,897 cc
Output: 77 kW (105 hp)
Top speed: 180 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 300 Sc Roadster (W 188 II, 1956)
The Mercedes-Benz 300 Sc Roadster is one of the world’s rarest and most sought-after classic cars, of which only 53 were built between 1956 and 1958. It belongs to the family of especially prestigious vehicles with a sporty note for highest standards of road-holding and speed, which were built as coupés, cabriolets and roadsters based on the prestigious Mercedes-Benz 300 Saloon between 1951 and 1958. The 300 Sc Roadster’s purchase price of DM36,500 made it the most expensive vehicle of a German manufacturer at the time. For comparison: the legendary Mercedes-Benz 300 SL sold for DM29,000.
Technical data of the Mercedes-Benz 300 Sc Roadster (W 188 II)
Built from: 1956-1958
Displacement: 2,996 cc
Output: 129 kW (175 hp)
Top speed: 180 km/h